Pfizer Eyes Source/Chinnici for Xalatan

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Pfizer Inc. named Source/Chinnici, Westport, CT, as consumer agency of record for Xalatan, a prescription medication that reduces eye pressure and risks from glaucoma.


The agency -- a joint venture of Source Marketing, Westport, and Chinnici Direct, New York -- competed with two shops for the account, including Saatchi & Saatchi's healthcare advertising division. There was no incumbent, nor was spend disclosed.


"The assignment is the first for consumer marketing," said Rich Feldman, managing partner of Source Marketing.


About 15 years old, Xalatan is the leading prescription drug for treating high intraocular pressure for patients with open-angle glaucoma or high eye pressure. It competes with drugs like Alcon Laboratories' Travitan and Allergan's Lumigan.


Source/Chinnici is charged with Xalatan's branding and positioning as well as direct and customer relationship marketing efforts. Tactics planned include unbranded magazine ads and branded marketing via direct mail and the Internet. Work has begun on the account, but the campaign date is under wraps.


Source Marketing and Chinnici are part of agency holding company MDC Partners, Toronto. Source has clients such as Time Warner Inc.'s Time Warner Cable and America Online, Beiersdorf, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Castrol, Mattel, Discovery Channel and Reckitt Benckiser. Chinnici's clients include Chase, MetLife Bank and Capital One.


Pfizer's requirements for Xalatan call for more involved direct marketing.


"The mandate for this client certainly is to connect with their patients and help them understand and better follow their doctor's prescriptions -- that's where the CRM component is," Feldman said.


Source/Chinnici will place materials in physicians' offices that patients can use to request further information. Ads will run in magazines likely to be read by glaucoma patients. The agency is also buying ads on related health Web sites. Targeted lists -- the internal Pfizer database of responders and outside files -- will be used for mailing efforts.


The marketing also will be designed to educate people who are at risk of, or have been diagnosed with, glaucoma about Xalatan's benefits. Differentiating the brand from its competition is part of the strategy as well.


About 4 million to 5 million people have glaucoma in the United States. Another 15 million are said to be at risk. Most are elderly.


Marketing to such an audience will not be easy.


"The biggest challenge is finding a very small universe of sufferers and reaching out and letting them know about the drug," said Derek Correia, president of Source Marketing. "And even once you've done that and are successful at having them get a prescription, you still have to maintain a dialogue and keep them compliant and persistent."


Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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